Development of a Strategic Heating Plan for Mongolia

IRENA is supporting the Government of Mongolia to develop a Strategic Heating Plan, which examines how its heating sector can be modernised in a socio-economically feasibility way to fulfil the decarbonisation targets and reduce the problems with local pollution in cities and in the long-term, achieve a renewable energy-based heating system.

In Mongolia, the energy sector is dominated by the use of coal, which contributes about 80% of the total primary energy supply. Mongolia’s heating sector is almost entirely dependent on coal for space heating requires (i.e. both district heating systems as well as in individual households units). As a result, the heating sector in Mongolia contributes around 80% of the accounted air pollution in the country.

According to the Mongolia Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) document, the country aims to reduce its greenhouse gases emissions by 22.7% in 2030 compared to 2010. In addition, Mongolia aims to increase the penetration of renewables in its energy systems to 30% in 2030, up from 20% in 2020. Furthermore, a pollution reduction target of 80% in Ulaanbaatar – the capital city – is envisaged in 2025 compared to 2016.

The strategic heating plan, therefore, investigates the potential of various renewable energy technological options within the heating sector and examines the technical and regulatory barriers for their deployment. The options include aspects of the whole energy-chain from renewable supply, energy efficient heating supply systems and energy efficient buildings. Geothermal energy, in combination with other distributed locally available renewable and waste energy sources can contribute to the achievement of Mongolia’s clean heating and climate objectives. District heating systems are a key infrastructure that can enable the deployment of renewables such as geothermal energy – which are usually distributed across cities – in the decarbonisation of the heating sector. Mongolia has a high penetration of district heating systems, which account for about 55% of the heat supplied in Ulaanbaatar.

Consequently, IRENA in collaboration with the Mongolian Ministry of Energy organised a virtual workshop to discuss and validate the preliminary findings and recommendations of the strategic heating plan for Mongolia. The workshop targeted participants from the government, municipalities, district heating companies, operators of heating plants, and development organisations, among others.

This workshop was by invitation only.